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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Berne, IN

Berne is a small town located in Adams county, Indiana with a population of just over four thousand. The town was founded in 1852 and is very proud of it's Swiss heritage.  Many of the commercial buildings in Berne have a "swiss" themed facade, lots of chalets style buildings with half-timbered exteriors. Even the Mc Donalds has a "swiss" look with it half-timbered siding. In the center of Berne is the clock tower, it is a new construction, and is a replica of the Zytglogge in Bern Switzerland.  The clock tower in Berne, IN is called The Munsterberg Clock Tower, after the first group of Mennonite settlers who hailed from the Jura region in Switzerland.
There are many things to see and do in Berne which  makes it a good destination for an afternoon trip.  Yesterday Emily and I took the boys to Berne. When we arrived in town we stopped at a locally owned grocery store and picked up some yogurt, bananas and granola bars for a picnic and then asked for directions to the town park.  We stopped at Lehman park, a pleasant tree shaded space with plenty of picnic tables and lots of fun stuff for children to play on. There is a nice mix of old and new playground equipment,  the boys enjoyed the old style stuff the best, the very tall slide, the witches hat spinning thing, the teeter-totter, after a bit we left and headed to the Berne Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Center. The lady at the Visitor Center was very helpful and thought we would enjoy the Swiss Heritage Village, she also mentioned that there is a splash pad by the clock tower and good ice cream available at The White Cottage ice cream shop. We headed off to the Swiss Heritage Village, the boys were free, adult entry was $6/person.  We joined in the tour and had a pleasant stroll around the grounds.  All of the buildings were moved to the site, a school house, doctors office, church, farm house, cheese house, cider mill, barn, and log cabin. Many of the buildings were moved in one piece even the huge barn!.  The cider press was impressive, hand built at least 150 years ago, it is said to be the oldest, largest, working cider press in the world and the Smithsonian was going to take it for exhibit.  The main part of the press is the press, a 4000 lb chunk of oak that is raised and lowered by a hand carved wooden screw that is at least 8 feet long and probably a foot in diameter.  On September 8 they will be making apple cider with the press.
As it was a very warm day we were ready for some refreshment after our tour so we headed back to town sample the ice cream at The White Cottage, we each enjoyed a cone.. The shops claim to fame is that they have twenty-four flavors of soft serve ice cream! I stuck with plain vanilla, Emily tried the german chocolate cake flavor and said it was good.
On the way out of town we stopped at the Cheese Shop, it is the retail outlet for a local cheese maker, unfortunately due to board of health regulations there are no longer tours of the cheese factory. I picked out a few cheeses, Gouda, and then a couple of cheeses with extras added, one had cranberries and slivered almonds added, and the other sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. I have to mention here that my most favorite cheese ever found on an outing  is Fruit Cake cheese, my sister and I discovered this amazing cheese in a grocers shop in Lavenham, England. Oh how we enjoyed that cheese with some good bread and  a glass of wine on the train ride back to London, but that is another story for another day.
Here are some pictures of our outing to Berne, IN.

The brick school house, moved in one piece to this location, still with the original bell.
The windmill to pump the water.

Fels Naptha Soap box, I like this because I use Fels Naptha soap to make our laundry detergent.

The very pretty fenced "four square" garden in front of the farm house.

What a glorious beast of a cook stove, I would love to have an opportunity to cook on one of these things.

A nice example of an English pieced quilt.

Emily and the boys took advantage of the golf cart on the tour.

The massive wooden screw to lower the 4000 lb press.

The press log, made of white oak taken from a tree that was at least 350 years old when it was cut down.

The cutesy cabin in the woods.

Emily enjoying her german chocolate cake ice cream cone.

The post office in the "chalet" style.

Bixler Insurance Agency getting into the "swiss" style.

The White Cottage ice cream shop proudly announcing it has 24 flavors of soft serve.

The clock tower.

And last but not least, the Cheese Co.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Delightful Saturday Outing

This Saturday we went to the Maumee Valley Antique Gas and Steam Show, the cost was $5/person over the age of 12.  Emily came along to help with the boys, we had two strollers, and Henry was very, very excited to go see all of the tractors and he was not disappointed.
There were tractors everywhere and of all ages, there were steam tractors and gas powered tractors of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  There was a little something for everyone, a quilt show, clog dancing, junk food, chicken dinners, ice cream, a model airplane air show,  a flea market, and exhibitions of various machinery in use.  There were free activities for children, a clown making balloon animals, face painting, and a barrel train ride, Henry and Patrick participated in all of these activities.  We really enjoyed the quilt show, and I say we, because the little boys really, really liked the quilts, some were very colorful, others had interesting block designs, and Patrick was so very, very excited when he saw a YO GABBA GABBA child quilt, he just stared at it in awe saying in a soft voice "Yo Gabba Gabba".
When we first arrived we watched a tree trunk get sawed into planks, this was done using a huge saw blade,  at least a yard in diameter, powered by a steam engine that ran an extremely long belt to drive multiple pulleys to turn the saw fast enough to quickly saw through a tree trunk length wise, very impressive.  Later on they had a planing exhibition to show how the rough cut planks are made uniform in size and shape.
We then headed over to a pavilion to watch the AppleJack Cloggers, they were a fun and entertaining bunch of dancers ranging in age from teenagers to retirees, they danced to fun music like the Wabash Cannon Ball. The emcee told some rather lame jokes between dance numbers, very lame but silly enough to make you chuckle.
After enjoying the clogging we headed over to the model airplane runway to watch the airplanes fly and do tricks, this was put on by the Fort Wayne Flying Circuits Model Airplane Club.  The planes were quite impressive, they all appeared to have a wingspan of four to five feet, and they were very nimble, one red and white stripped plane did all kinds of loop de loops and dizzying dives it was very fun to watch.  Again the little boys were enamored with the planes, they did not want to leave, they enjoyed watching them take off and land, and of course fly.  Eventually we did leave to go find some lunch. Henry and Patrick enjoyed a hamburger, Emily found a gyro, I opted for a breaded tenderloin and some coleslaw.  After lunch and a short time to play on a jungle gym, Henry ran around up and down ladders telling everyone he was Fireman Sam, we headed over to get some homemade ice cream - YUMMY - it was very good.
After all of this Charlie needed a bottle, so I fed him while Emily took the boys off to ride the barrel train, this  they did by themselves and they were gone for a while, we would see them go by and think they were about to return, but no, they simply wound around and appeared again then disappeared and finally returned to the depot, for a FREE ride they really got a good deal.
Then off to wander the flea market, I found a funny sign for Dave to hang in the garage, it says, "What happens in the garage stays in the garage", then has a sketch of a guy kicked back in a chair drinking a beer while watching football on a little tv, the car in the background still appears in need of repair!!
By this point everyone was feeling a bit tired and we were ready to head home, all three boys were asleep within a few minutes of leaving and we headed home with a definite plan to attend the Maumee Valley Gas and Steam Engine Show again in 2013.
Here are some pictures to enjoy. (Please note, I forgot to take my camera so only had my cell phone to take pictures with, it does an okay job but has no zoom).

Rows of tractors to look at.

A tree trunk already partially sawed and getting ready to go through again.

The steam engine powering the long, long belt to run the saw blade.

A close up of the steam engine.

Face painting completed and balloon dogs in hand the boys are feeling quite pleased.

A not very good shot of the airfield, there are planes on the ground, a yellow one in  the center of the picture.

The speck in the sky is the red dare devil airplane

We had just finished eating our lunch in the tent we took a picture of the boys to send to their Mommy  while she was at work.

Patrick really enjoyed his chocolate ice cream.

Not sure what this is, but it looked kind of cool, I think it is some kind of hot rod tractor.

More farm machinery.

A "John Deere" bicycle, Emily liked it a lot, it had a tractor seat and a steering  wheel and could be all yours for a mere $50.

Henry and Patrick in the first two cars of the barrel train.  Called a barrel train because the cars are made out o f, you guessed it, barrels.

Ah, a pedal car, this brought back memories.

A steam roller I think, it emitted a lot of steam and had a large roller, so I put two and two together and hope that I have not come up with seven.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Sunshiny Sewing Room

My sewing room, formerly a bedroom shared by my daughters Amber and Emily, is a place I love to spend time. The room is in the front of house so faces east and catches the best of the morning light, it is my Sunshiny Sewing Room. My sewing machine is on an old kitchen table, the one used by my husbands family when he was a child, believe it or not this little table sat a family of eight to dinner each evening!!!.  To the left of the sewing table is a six foot long folding table, awesome for spreading fabric out for pinning patterns and cutting, and to my right the ironing board.  I have a plastic floor mat with an old swivel office chair and I spend my happy hours spinning from left to center to right as cut, sew, press, and continue on.  I usually have my laptop on the cutting table, and listen to BBC radio 4 on the internet, or I listen to a book on tape (CD).  I like to sit in the chair in the corner and do my daily bible reading, and my husband sits in the chair when he pops in to update me on whatever project he happens to be working on.  I really like the shelves on the wall, my husband made them many years ago for our daughters to display their treasures on, I now use them for storage of sewing books, knitting patterns, boxes of notions and threads, and all the bits and bobs of sewing.
I am currently making putting together a quilt for our soon to born grand daughter Alivia, my next project is a new shirt made with John Deere patterned cotton material for grandson Henry's birthday gift.  Currently draped over my chair is a quilt belonging to my neighbor, it is about a hundred years old and her father who was born in 1910 had it on his childhood bed, unfortunately some of the binding has come off due to it's deteriorated state cannot be reattached so I will be repairing the quilt with some closely matched material. What is your favorite space in your home?

Quilt for Alivia, it is 46"/46" and has a polka dot back that compliments the colors on the top.

The Command Pod. I still really like the cloud wallpaper we put up years ago for the girls, I added the Monet poster of The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil, I love the sunflowers. You can see the red and white quilt, draped over the chair, while it awaits repair,

The useful shelves

The command pod, I like the lantern light left over from daughter Amber's teenage years.

I made this quilt for son Ben a number of years ago, he wanted black and  white , it is in the same pattern  as Alivia's quilt.

The back of the quilt is called cow hide, a print  Ben loved at the time I made it. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow and More Birthdays!

Today we drove to Columbia City to check out the annual Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow (somehow I knew that spell check would not like that word).  It is a traditional Pow Wow and is always hosted annually on the   weekend following the first full week of August, it is held in Morsches Park in Columbia City, IN.
The sacred circle was set up in the middle of a grassy area, in the center was an open sided tent made with logs and branches.  The branches supporting the roof met in the center and continued up into the air, attached to each was a streamer, they looked peaceful as they gently blew in the breeze.  Around the perimeter of the pow wow were about two dozen traders, most booths sold similar items, lots of dream catchers, beaded jewelry, animal skins, animal skulls, turquoise jewelry, hair accessories just to name a few. Prices started at a dollar for little beaded bracelets, a few dollars for simple toys, I purchased flutes for $3 each for Henry and Patrick and Emily found a bracelet for $2.  There were a couple of food vendors selling buffalo burgers and fry bread, we tried the buffalo burgers, they were not bad.
Shortly after we arrived the Grand Entrance began, there were many dancers dressed in costume, some looked authentic, others did not, but all were very colorful.  The dancers walked around the sacred circle in a kind of two step with one foot then two steps with other foot kind of walk while drums beat out a rhythm, it was very calming.  There was an opening prayer, and then a talk. I enjoyed the talk and two comments stuck with me, one, the Creator makes nothing evil it is man who messes things up, and two, as human beings we are all perfectly flawed.
 I was surprised that the Grand Entrance was almost entirely a tribute to veterans, the military branches, and police, firemen and all first responders. There was a flag ceremony and flags were individually placed in the sacred circle for the Miami People, the US and Canadian Flags, a flag for each military branch, and the final flag, walked around the circle before being placed, was for the POW MIA. A prayer was then said for all veterans, and then all military active and retired were asked to enter the sacred circle, the dancers then reentered and walked around and shook hands and thanked all of the veterans. I had not expected any of this and found it to be a very touching and thoughtful tribute to all of those who have sacrificed to serve our country. Here are a couple of pictures from the POW WOW.

This lady had made her dress out of Elk skin and then hand sewed all of the beading, it was a truly beautiful  dress. And you see the boys were really into their flutes. (Patrick has his upside down!)

Detail on some of the beading.

The back of an elaborate costume of one of the dancers  in the sacred circle.

Another dress made out of animal skin and beautifully decorated with beads.

A shot of the tent in the center of the sacred circle, at this time the dancers were walking around  shaking hands with veterans and thanking them for their service.

This past Wednesday we celebrated two more birthdays, husband Dave and son Ben share August 8th.  Dave was born on 8/8/58 at 10:08 am weighing 9lbs, 4 ozs, and thirty-three years later, our third child Ben was born on 8/8/91 at 11:08 am weighing 9lbs, 4ozs. 
Two birthday cakes, they always want chocolate cake with chocolate frosting , covered in M & M's and served with chocolate ice cream.
The annual battle of the candles, who can blow them all out in one puff!
Dave blew 53 out with one puff but the 54th candle got him.
Little Charlie was amused by all of the goings on at the birthday party. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Last Graduation Party!

This past Saturday evening we threw a graduation party for our youngest child, daughter Emily. We waited until August to have the party as my parents were travelling abroad all summer and just returned home on Friday.  It was a fun party, it was great to see my parents again after a three month absence, and good to see all the family and friends who turned out to share in the celebration.  During the party a massive storm rolled in, the sky became as dark as night, the rain was torrential and horizontal coming from the north, the lights flickered on and off a few times but thankfully the power did not remain out. It was interesting riding out a big storm while the house was absolutely brimming with guests. Emily really wanted to have a bonfire at her party, for most of the summer we were in a drought and under a burn ban. A week before the party the burn ban was lifted and Emily was thrilled because now she could have a bonfire and s'mores.  It is ironic that initially we didn't think we could have a fire due to the drought, and ended up not having a fire because it was too wet after the torrential storm.  Anyway, we have s'more stuff hidden away for another day, I find if I don't hide those Hershey bars they just seem to disappear.
Emily did not want a traditional graduation cake, instead she picked out a Cinderella princess cake for her party. Dave cooked burgers, brats, and hotdogs for everyone, we had of course pictured a picnic type party with everyone outdoors enjoying the evening, playing horseshoe or corn hole, but it was not to be.  After the storm there was a most spectacular sunset, the sky simply glowed orange and was amazingly beautiful.
So here it is a new school year beginning and for the first time in about twenty four years I don't have to go school shopping, go to registration, or anything and you know what I love it!
Here are some pictures from the festivities

The cake.

My Mom with her great grandson Charlie.

Daughter Emily on the right with her good friend Katie on the left.

My Dad.

The amazing sunset, the camera simply does not do it justice.

Son Matt on the left, with a neighbor boy (all grown up now), and our nephew Eric, they were admiring the sunset.

My Mom and Charlie and my nieces Carly and Caitie